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DATING = INTERVIEW (Language Lesson #1- Follow UP)

I used to tell my hubby that since we are the only two in the relationship, we get to define what that means for us. Think: "In the World, but not Of the World."
Anyway, the point is that WE define what certain words mean to us. If Dating means to most of the World that you sleep with everyone you go on a date with, then that potentially poses a problem for me. "The World", Status quo, or whomever may hold that view, but in my house, DATING = INTERVIEW. At sixteen, dating means you admit you have mutual interest or at least acknowledge that the person has interest in you and you are willing to give them a chance. It means, you go out to lunch with them and get to go on 'group dates'. It means, through your friendship, you have determined that he is 'date-able'. Since you are maintaining emotional distance, you are not texting non-stop and talking on the phone until the wee hours. Phone calls end at 9pm. It doesn't mean to 'kiss to find out if there is chemistry'. The world (or your entire High School, as the case may be) may make that assumption, but you have the power to make your own rules.
Dating means you find out, investigate this person for potential exclusivity. How do they treat their mother? Their sister or brother? Who do they hang out with? DO they go to church? What type? Do they lie to their parents? What kind of grades do they get? At sixteen, you are conceivably 'allowed' to go on a real 'date', obviously prom is later this year. But, if prom is with a special someone with whom you are picking out of a crowd, then we better have met him prior to prom. If you'have been dating', and wanting to remain under our blessing, then we have met him ourselves SEVERAL times. In fact, you have spent the majority of your one-on-one time under our roof, not in your bedroom, and we will be meeting his parents very soon. At that point, exclusivity will be a decision you can make, provided we approve. I could break this down and down. Obviously, the rules will change as one gets older and on their own, but i really think the basics are the same for males and females at ANY AGE.
However, the bottom line is this: GIRLS AND GUYS ARE DIFFERENT. I have no professional expertise, but I highly suspect that a girl's motive for dating is very, very different than a guy's. One of my favorite topics is this very subject.
When i teach my daughter that 'all guys want is one thing' at your age (until they decide they should marry, pretty much) then i teach her to be cautious and look for that motive in the guys who show interest. If she has a healthy self-esteem that I consciously attempt to build by reminding her nearly daily that she is beautiful, valuable, and precious, then she will be repelled by negative intentions while looking for them. I tell her that her beauty carries 'power'. That guys will be attracted to her beauty and "With great power, comes great responsibility." (Future blog to reveal how i learned this the hard way.) In contrast, when i was that age, I was too trusting. My false assumption was that if you say you are "Christian" than you obviously don't want to have sex before marriage, because that wouldn't make you a true Christian. My observations and the answer I seemed to come across often as I worked through my own issues and sought answers was that girls who had strong ties to their fathers, and were given LOTS of healthy male affection/attention at home did not seek it outside the home. I tend to believe this is at least partially true. I plan on reading "BRINGING UP GIRLS" by Dr. James Dobson. I am curious as to what he has learned. I hear it is a thoroughly researched book.
Guys, on the other hand, have a completely different biological make-up. And again, I have no expertise on their motives or reasoning. However, I think that with our sons, we teach them to RESPECT women. Hold them in high esteem. In order to prepare our sons to 'love his wife the way Christ loved the church', they cannot always view women as sexual objects to be conquered or playthings. I try to appeal to my teen son's desire to please as well, his affinity for 'being the good guy' and a true gentleman. I think because i care, my son sees that. We have a very healthy mother-son relationship and I am convinced that it has made a HUGE difference in the way he is with his gf, and girls in general.
On more thing. Keep in mind that when you set rules, boundaries with your teen, it is a WHOLE LOT of work to enforce them. Maybe that's why parents tend to turn a blind eye. It's exhausting.

Comments

  1. You are really spicing up our dinner table conversation.

    I think you're onto something with the thinking about different motivations for dating, and what you're telling your children about who they are to empower them to be their best selves through the process.

    I wonder about the shared motivation for dating though, and how we coach them through that: namely, the heart's desire to be loved, to attach, to BELONG. I wonder about what we tell our kids about the time between - the time between belonging to our parents and then belonging to our mate if we do end up marrying. How do we live in that between time? Limiting the conversation to sexual connectedness makes sense when they're children and teens because aside from anything else, we are protecting them from some of the hard choices you had to make, to say nothing of STDs and abuse.

    But as they move into their 20s and adulthood, what then? What about when you are not chosen, not partnered? What about when you are two late-20s not ready for marriage, but more than ready for sex and you've already covered the previous bases pretty thoroughly - what guides you then?

    I think your conversations about self-esteem and respect are such good starting places and I hope you'll write about expanding from there and growing with your becoming-adults-children through the next parts.

    Can't wait for dinner tonight. Scott won't know what hit him...

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  2. Thanks again, friend.

    I agree that 20's poses a problem for wanting to connect and belong. My observation is that I think it is a problem of the 21st century in that we move away from our parents and no longer abide under their 'protection.' I remember distinctly feeling the need for HEALTHY male affection and going home to hug my dad and brothers. Maybe its a girl thing, but I was definately LONGING for it.

    I wasn't really good at being in my twenties and 'obeying God' when it comes to sexual purity. I find it ALL by HIS GRACE that i have the husband I have and the healing that has occurred in my life. Maybe I am the wrong person to ask. But I hope to help guide my children as to at least 'what NOT to do' when they are in that stage.

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